This summer I spent six weeks in Bahrain doing a project for women empowerment. However, upon telling Bahrainis what I was doing in Bahrain, some reacted quite offended “but Bahraini women are already empowered”. This sentence was almost exclusively followed by “they do not need to be more empowered”. I spent a month and a half in Bahrain researching women’s rights and women empowerment, and I have to concede with the first statement that Bahraini women indeed are empowered in some ways. But the second statement seemed to remain stuck in my mind; just because women are empowered in some aspect, does that mean that they do not need to keep fighting for more empowerment?
Last Saturday I went to the birthday of a friend of mine who had just turned twenty-one. In the Netherlands in some circles it is very common to celebrate your 21st birthday by hosting a large dinner at your parents’ house and inviting twenty-one of your closest friends to eat dinner with you.
I grew up privileged, I know I did. My name is Tessa and I am a 21-year-old student from the Netherlands. If I look back at my life, I can see that who I am and where I come from did not ever prevent me from having access to opportunities. I am the stereotype of someone who has it easy; someone who is white, straight, cis, and middle class. The only thing I do not have going for me is the fact that I am a woman. Do not get me wrong; I absolutely love being a woman and I am very proud to be one. However, I think we can all agree that being a woman is not easy. Even though we work very hard towards gender equality, men and women still are not equal in a number of aspects. Sometimes I wonder how we even got here. Is it not strange to think that people are treated differently based on what they have between their legs? I certainly thought so when I was a child.